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Players Premier
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Unspecified custom loader

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10
Jonathan Nash
Chris Bourne

It must be awfully hard finding politically correct villains for Speccy games. The plot to Moving Target runs as follows. 'The evil drugs duke of Colombia must die.'' There you are. A healthily dastardly villain everybody can hiss without fear of offending anyone but Colombian drugs barons who aren't the sort of readers were aiming for anyway, thankyouverymuch.

Moving Target is surprisingly good. It's a zap game in the grand old tradition of running around a flip-screen maze, finding keys to open doors, shooting guards and planting bombs. (Very Dan Dare-ish, actually.) It overcomes some pretty tough handicaps to emerge smiling and worthy of a good couple of hours play now and then.

The first of these handicaps are the graphics. They are, to use that splendid YS-ism, crap, with some very odd animation of some very odd sprites. The deadly guard dogs are the worst offenders - they sort of sit there looking like carved lard, then suddenly breakdance over to bite your legs off. (Vicious tykes too - takes most of a clip of ammo to finish them off.) At least there are some nice 'n' chunky 128K sound effects.

So, apart from looking awful and trickily playing about with difficulty levels (you can't fire on the run, which gives the enemy ample time to surround you), Moving Target is a barrel of laughs. From the snazzy effect of just seeing the muzzle flash of your gun rather than having the bullets fly across the screen to the ratings table that starts at 'Rookie' and improves as you go along (er, to 'Second Rate' in my case), the game just, well, gels. There are thousands of baddies to zap, many obstacles to avoid (that barbed wire is really rotten), a massive map to memorise and those blimmin' guard dogs to curse. I enjoyed every cordite-permeated moment of it.

Uppers: Good, old fashioned blast game... Downers: ... that looks dreadful... ... but who cares, eh?

68%

Screenshot Text

You'd think they'd put these generators just a little closer to the house. It's such a chore to have to stomp out in the rain. Oh no! There are armed security guards as well. Tch.